The vines that we grafted and planted early this year have already started to grow. When you plant something or cut something down and try to change it, all kinds of concerning things can happen but we are breathing easier with most varieties in full bloom. That means that what looks like grapes are actually flowers and from the base of the flower emerges the grape. This is a critical time for sunshine, moderate to warm temperatures, not too much heat, and not too much fog. So far, everything is on track. We are trying to finish up shoot removal. After that, we pull leaves around the clusters, being careful to not expose them to too much sunlight to avoid burn. Last year taught us all some good lessons on controlling the heat.
The new Toccata Tasting Room is now open for both outside and inside tasting. It is showing continuous growth and is an enjoyable place to visit.
2019 Malvasia Bianca: I don’t know of anyone else around here that grows this grape. I started growing it many years ago for Beringer Vineyards and discovered that it made a unique floral, aromatic, great tasting wine, preferably made sweet. Some people might call it a first cousin to Muscat Canelli. Serve well chilled and with pungent cheeses, fried foods with a little salt, spring salads, and anything with some spice. This is a sipper and cleanses the palate.
2018 Dolcetto: This wine is often overlooked, even by Italians! Of all the grapes of Piemonte, Dolcetto has the least amount of acid. It is very pleasant to drink and goes down really easy - perfect with that round dish called pizza. When the grapes are grown properly, it might resemble Pinot Noir. It grows in an extremely large bunch that has a hard time maturing, like White Zinfandel. In such cases, we remove excess clusters and cut large bunches in half. Dolcetto has tough competition against Barbera and Nebbiolo, the twin kings of Piemonte, but it deserves to be recognized.
2017 Riserva: What does Valley View Cabernet Sauvignon do to Sangiovese? It makes it a real live super Tuscan. What does that mean? The Sangiovese grape, with its smooth, full, lush, fruity character, takes the edge off of the Cabernet and we end up with a sleek, Chianti-style Cabernet. This ought to confuse everyone! In reality, super Tuscans have become one of the great blends of the last 50 years. Cabernet is still king, but Sangiovese belongs in the royal court.
Summer is here. Freedom is the new normal. Be careful. Spend a lot of time with family and friends who are missed.